N.Korea calls U.S. bombing of Syria 'unacceptable'

And Pyongyang has shown no sign of reining in a missile testing programme ultimately aimed at securing the capability to deliver a nuclear warhead to the continental United States.

Trump met his national security team before the dinner, sat through the meal while the action was carried out and briefed by Defence Secretary James Mattis afterwards, CNN reported.

"There is a difference between Syria and North Korea", Yamamoto said.

The missile barrage enhances Trump's image as a leader willing to use US military power quickly and in a precision-strike manner - which is exactly the scenario that concerns North Korea most.

China is North Korea's economic lifeline and as such enjoys more leverage over its maverick neighbour than any other country.

"They have indicated that they will and I think we need to allow them time to take actions", Tillerson said of China.

The only thing that could worry the US experts is the capability of North Korea's nuclear-tipped missiles to reach the USA mainland.

But Hwang Jae-ho, an expert on Northeast Asian regional security at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, said Beijing would not allow the U.S. to attack Pyongyang. "For once we can be able to say 'They should be anxious about us.' And they should be".

The US military said on Tuesday that nuclear-armed North Korea had fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan but that it did not represent a threat to North America.

"We will bolster up in every way our capability for self-defence to cope with the USA evermore reckless moves for a war and defend ourselves with our own force", it said. "We are rapidly and dangerously moving towards a military solution".

Last month, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in an interview that the United States was not interested in reviving the six-party format talks on North Korea's nuclear program. But unlike Syria, experts warn that North Korea has a means of striking back if provoked.

South Korea's "taegukgi" flag waved gently in the breeze, just a few metres from the North's emblem.

"The clock has now run out and all options are on the table", an official told CNN on Tuesday, pointing to the failure of successive administrations' efforts to negotiate an end to North Korea's nuclear program.

'Discussions of regime change and decapitation. tend to cause the Chinese great pause of concern and tends to have them move in the opposite direction we would like them to move in terms of pressure, ' said former USA ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert.

Trump also said over the weekend the USA would solve the problem of the North's nuclear program with or without Chinese help, while the White House said two days later that "clock is very, very quickly running out".

  • Leroy Wright